The Federal Trade Commission is sending a warning to consumers as we close in on tax season. Identity Theft Awareness Week kicked off Monday as a reminder.
Experts say it only takes is a social security number for your identity to be stolen, causing headaches with the Internal Revenue Service.
The FTC says over past 4 years, tax identity theft has been a growing problem, accounting for nearly half of all complaints.
Local experts at Jackson Hewitt attribute the increase to businesses requesting more information online. They say that information is often held in unsecure locations. Also, they say consumers aren't taking advantage of firewalls and security software.
Jackson Hewitt General Manager Lois Daniels suggests keeping as much personal information off the internet as possible.
Daniels said, "It's very important that people recognize they should not share their social security number with anyone. That's where identity theft is coming from. People allow others to have access to their valuable information, such as your social security, because once it's out there you have no idea who they will give it to the next time."
Daniels says children can also have their identities stolen, as people try to claim them as dependents to receive more money back on their tax returns.